Effective September 19, 2016, SureHire will be adding the option to request lab-based testing for GHB, either as a standalone test or as an add-on to any other urine lab panel (5, 7, 10, or 12). As GHB has increased in popularity over the past decade, both as a “date rape drug” and a party drug, it has become a serious health and safety concern at the workplace. SureHire takes this threat to safety and productivity seriously, and understands that offering this service is an important step toward meeting the evolving needs of our clients. We also hope that by adding GHB testing, we will better serve our core purpose of creating safe, healthy, and productive communities.
What is GHB?
GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, is a powerful synthetic neurotransmitter and psychoactive drug that acts as a depressant on the central nervous system. Traces of GHB are naturally present in the human body, and the chemical compound can also be found trace amounts in certain foods we eat, like animal meat and red wine.
How is GHB Used?
When it is illicitly produced, GHB is commonly identified as a date rape drug. It is colourless, tasteless, and odourless, making it virtually undetectable when mixed into a drink. GHB is also frequently abused by teens and young adults at clubs, bars, and “raves” (all-night dance parties). Its popularity as a party drug can be attributed to its sedative effects as well as its tendency to remove inhibitions and make the user more sociable, effects similar to ecstasy. Its street names include “G,” “Gina,” and “Liquid Ecstasy.” Aside from its illicit uses, GHB is also sometimes used in a medical context. It can be used to treat cataplexy, a rare form of narcolepsy. Beyond this usage, however, the medical community has largely shunned the use of this drug as a valid treatment option due to its dangerous potential for overdose.
What are the Effects of GHB?
The average dose of GHB is 1-5 grams. Once taken, GHB begins to take effect in less than thirty minutes, with the effects lasting up to eight hours depending on the dosage and purity. GHB has a very short half-life, and can be detected in the urine for only 12-24 hours after it enters the bloodstream.
GHB’s short half-life means that if you suspect you have been exposed to GHB, it is crucial to get yourself tested as soon as is reasonably possible. After twelve hours have passed, there is no guarantee that GHB will be detectable in urine.
Effects by Dosage
Less than 1 gram: Relaxation effect; loss of muscle tone and reduced inhibitions 1-2 grams: Strong relaxation effect; slower heartrate and rate of respiration; blood circulation, motor coordination, and balance are affected at this dose. More than 2 grams: Pronounced reduction in motor and speech control, sometimes followed by coma-like sleep.
For more information about GHB testing services offered by SureHire, please call your account representative.